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In these passages is the account of the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Joseph and Mary were required to go there for a census which was commanded by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. Bethlehem was crowded, and Joseph and Mary had to stay in a stable. Jesus was born there and was laid in a manger. After Jesus was born, an angel appeared to shepherds in a field and told them, “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The shepherds then went to the stable and saw Jesus. They told Mary and Joseph about the encounter with the angel.

A short time later, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and offer a sacrifice according to the law of Moses. While in the Temple an old man named Simeon approached them. God had told Simeon that Simeon would see the Lord’s Christ before Simeon died. Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God, thanking God for fulfilling God’s promise to him. Simeon then prophesied to Mary “Behold this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed, and a sword will pierce even you your own soul – to the end that thoughts from many hearts will be revealed.” Indeed, Jesus, who the Bible says is the Living Word of God, has the effect of revealing one’s innermost thoughts, good and bad, revealing who we really are.

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